Miami En Vivo

Spanish-language stations lead in viewers, if not revenue

With 44% of its residents of Hispanic origin, the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market has the nation’s third-largest Latino audience. But while two of the market’s six Spanish-language stations have achieved the rare feat of leading their English-language competitors in ratings, they lag behind in station revenue.

“We have the ratings and the eyeballs,” says Mike Rodriguez, general manager of NBC Universal’s Telemundo station, WSCV. “Now it is a matter of getting the respect.”

WSCV has led in late news for the four latest ratings books. Univision’s WLTV was the top-rated 6 p.m. news in May and third in late news behind WSVN, a top Fox station nationwide. The Telemundo station is also tied with WSVN for No. 1 in primetime, with telenovelas like La Tormenta.

But while WSVN is the market’s top earner, with $95.5 million in revenue last year, according to BIA Financial, WSCV booked only $39.4 million. Spanish-language stations overall accounted for less than a third of the $502.6 million in gross station revenue in 2005. (The market’s only duopoly, WSCV and NBC affiliate WTVJ, booked $104.4 million in combined revenue.)

Miami-Ft. Lauderdale ranks No. 17 among Nielsen markets but No. 9 in station revenue. Spending from the gubernatorial and Senate races is expected to bring about $20 million into the market this fall.

Meanwhile, competition among the general-market stations is so tight that less than a ratings point separated the four late English-language newscasts in the May sweeps. WSVN, WTVJ, CBS-owned WFOR and Post-Newsweek ABC affiliate WPLG post strong news and primetime numbers. In early mornings, WTVJ narrowly edged WSVN in May to be No. 1 for the first time in several years.

With seven stations carrying late news in English, and three in Spanish, Miami is rich in local news. “The market’s diversity makes local news here very interesting and heavily watched,” says Rich Engberg, general manager for Tribune-owned WBZL, a future CW station.

WBZL airs a 10 p.m. news produced by WTVJ. WBFS has 10 p.m. news and a two-hour morning show, both produced by sister station WFOR.

Soon to be a MyNetworkTV affiliate, WBFS plans to add original programs, including a high school football show. Says Brien Kennedy, general manager for WBFS and WFOR, “This is an opportunity to expand our local presence.”